Archive for the ‘Lunch’ Category

Wild rice is a truly indigenous Canadian food that has been growing in the boreal forest for centuries. Wild rice is not the same plant we commonly refer to as rice. Wild rice in Canada is Zizania palutris, an aquatic water grass that grows in the lakes of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. It has become commercialized and is now also grown on aquatic farms in California as well as harvested from Canada’s natural lakes.

Wild rice contains twice as much protein as brown rice. It is low in calories and high in fibre with a more chewy texture than rice. One cup of cooked wild rice contains only 165 calories and 6.5 grams of protein.  It is high in vitamins and minerals. Wild rice does not contain gluten. Personally I would find it difficult to eat a whole cup of wild rice. It’s so dense.

Wild rice is often sold in grocery stores mixed with regular rice. This is a bad idea because wild rice requires a much longer cooking time and more water than regular rice. I now realize that I’ve fed quite a few people uncooked wild rice.  No harm in that, but under cooked rice is likely to give you a little fibre and no nutrients.   Instructions for cooking wild rice recommend  three to four  cups water for each cup of  wild rice and a cooking time of thirty to sixty minutes. I have had success with using three cups water and cooking for forty five minutes. If in doubt err on the side of extra water and extra cooking time.

Uncooked Wild Rice

Fully Cooked Wild Rice

Once cooked the wild rice  pops open, a little like popcorn. If it looks like the grain, it’s not cooked. One cup of raw  wild rice turns to about three cups cooked.

It’s easy to freeze the cooked wild rice in small portions and then mix it with  rice or other grains into any recipe.




Favourite Tourtiere

Author: helga

Tourtiere was never a tradition in my family, but I am happy to adopt this dish from Quebec and make it part of our Canadian Christmas. This recipe comes from The Harrowsmith Cook Book Vol. 1.  It was submitted to the cookbook by Nicole Chartrand, from Alymer, Quebec.

Lard pastry for double-crust 9-inch pie                           1/2 tsp. savory
1 lb. lean ground pork                                                       pinch of ground cloves
1 medium onion, chopped                                                1/4 cup boiling water
salt and pepper

Mix meat and onion and spices in a saucepan. Add boiling water. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Skim off any fat.

Roll out half the pastry and line a 9-inch pie plate. Place filling in pie plate and cover with the remaining pastry. Prick with a fork. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes or until golden. Serves 4-6.

The original recipe says to serve with homemade ketchup or chili sauce. I prefer to serve it with mashed potatoes and lots of gravy.



Blueberry Quinoa Salad

Author: helga

Blueberry Quinoa Salad

Made with parsley and mint, this salad is  similar to a tabbouleh. The quinoa base makes it gluten free and the blueberries add  more summer freshness.

2 cups cooked quinoa**, cooled
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ diced chives or green onion
2 cups fresh blueberries

**To cook quinoa: rinse ½ cup quinoa and add to 1 cup of boiling water. Bring to boil, cover and cook on low heat 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed.

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon orange zest
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Combine ingredients and leave at room temperature for an hour before serving.

Yield: 4 portions about 1 cup each.

Dandelions For Lunch

Author: helga

Dandelion Tuna Sandwich

Dandelions. They’re everywhere. For decades we’ve been told to spend money buying toxic chemicals to kill them. Ironically, they’re growing here because Europeans brought them for their gardens. Dandelions were considered important plants for their nutritional and medicinal properties. The flowers, the leaves and the roots are all edible and full of vitamins. Today’s internet has a plethora of recipes for using all parts of the dandelion.

Here is my first attempt at dandelion cuisine. I’ve added the dandelion petals to a tuna sandwich.

  • handful of dandelion blossoms – pluck the petals from the green sepals
  •  can of tuna – drained
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • one green onion – chopped

Mixed together and served on a couple slices of Sunflower Rye Bread from the Italian Centre Shop. Yes, it tastes good!  Dandelion petals add a fresh, lively  taste to what is usually a boring  sandwich. The yellow petals could also be a tasty and colourful addition to egg salad or potato salad.

Experimenting with dandelion blossoms requires being  attentive to the weather and the plant’s growth cycle.  If I tell myself  “I’ll do it next week”, the blossoms will likely have disappeared.    Already there are few dandelion blooms left. They’ve turned to seed and the dandelion season is over.

Next spring I’ll be ready with lots of recipes collected, waiting for that burst of yellow.   Dandelion cookies. Martha Stewart’s Dandelion Salad. Stir Fried Dandelion Greens. Endless possibilities are available to experiment with.

Dandelions are a great way to introduce the first  freshness of spring into our diets. These  green sprouts, coming up after the snow, are growing outside our homes whether we want them or not.  It’s only a matter of time before restaurants add dandelion to their locally grown, seasonal  fare.

When the dandelion fields bloom again, I’m hoping someone will teach me the centuries old tradition of making dandelion wine. While processing all those blossoms, we’ll be preserving the warmth and colour of spring to keep us comfortable during the frozen winter. What’s not to love about that?